How the Trauma of War Affects Nurses

Nurses After War: Reintegration Experience of Nurses Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan (2016) book jacket

Soldiers aren’t the only ones who go to war. They’re supported by a vast network of “unsung heroes” who can suffer the same trauma that affects the women and men on the front lines. “People need to remember any time we deploy troops, the almost invisible support we deploy is our medics—the nurses, physicians, physical therapists, dietitians, psychiatric social workers, and pharmacists,” said Elizabeth Scannell-Desch, an associate dean at the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden and a retired U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps colonel.

With that message in mind, Scannell-Desch, who joined the Rutgers–Camden faculty in January 2016, co-authored Nurses After War: Reintegration Experience of Nurses Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan (2016) and Nurses in War: Voices from Iraq and Afghanistan (2012). Both books were written with her twin sister, Mary Ellen Doherty, a professor of nursing at Western Connecticut State University, and published by Springer Publishing Company. Their newest title describes the homecoming experiences of 35 military nurses who cared for soldiers in combat. “Even seasoned trauma nurses from large urban medical centers expressed horror at what they saw and had to do to save lives, ameliorate suffering, and allow death with dignity,” Scannell-Desch said. Scannell-Desch, whose military service of 25 years included active duty around the globe as a flight nurse and an assignment in the Pentagon crafting military health-care policy, was one of only three New Jersey nursing professionals inducted as a Fellow by the American Academy of Nursing in 2017.

Posted in: 2017 FALL, On Campus

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